Quitting or starting something can be difficult. You want to make or break habits for a better you and a better quality of life. But some habits can be quite the struggle. Like smoking, over-eating, whatever you’ve become addicted to, over time, you’ve created synaptic pathways that are now worn in. And though our brains are very adaptive, those pathways are like a tough stain- you have to scrub hard to get it out, but even then, you’re really just weakening the fibers giving the impression that the stain is removed. That’s kind of like how our brain works with habits. We can weaken that trigger, but even down the road, something can set us off and we find our self down that synaptic pathway again. The key to fighting this habitual instinct is to combat those triggers with action!
Get up and move! Keep a journal! Call a friend! You’re craving a cigarette? Go workout and replace those nicotine cravings with endorphins! Call a close friend you know who has your best interest in mind and will say just the right thing to keep you from lighting up. Maybe keep a journal of whatever triggered the stress and find ways to avoid or combat it. Relieve that stress in a HEALTHY way and I guarantee you within twenty minutes, that desire will disappear and then you’ll feel better for avoiding it!
You are stronger than your addiction! Now I’m not saying a relapse will never happen. I don’t think that’d be realistic. And for some people, breaking a habit is a lifetime effort. But I AM saying to give yourself more credit. You are so much more powerful than you think. There is nothing better than the feeling I get when I’ve persevered and avoided temptation. Which, by the way, for me, is sweets.
When a craving hits, I drink 8 ounces of water and get moving. Whether it be walking, running, or simply picking up toys, I refuse to be idle for the next twenty minutes. That twenty-minute distraction keeps my mind preoccupied and my fingers off the sweets! See, I’m breaking a bad habit and creating a good one!
So whatever your weakness, I encourage you to find a healthy distraction that works for you. And don’t.give.up. This will only defeat you if you let it. But how bad do you want this? You have a set back? Okay…just.keep.going. You’re building a healthy habit here, you’re creating new synaptic pathways. Just keep building! With every temptation you avoid, every synaptic “brick” you lay, you’re getting stronger! And you are stronger today than you were yesterday.
What kind of bad habits do you struggle with? What seems to trigger you the most? What are some ways you fight it? I’d love to hear from you. Let’s encourage each other!